NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 09:  NHL commisioner Gary Bettman addresses the fans during a ceremony for former New Jersey Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur as his jersey is retired in a ceremony before the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Edmonton Oilers on 9, 2016 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Gary Bettman tells critics of 3-on-3 hockey to “shut up”

Plenty of players and fans have voiced their criticism over the NHL’s 3-on-3 format in overtime. Recently, Tuukka Rask aired his complaints about 3-on-3 play and back in October Dustin Byfuglien called it a “terrible part of hockey.”

What does Gary Bettman think about the critics? He wants them to shut up.

That’s a pretty blunt answer from the NHL commissioner. It seems like he’s mostly referring to the grumbling from the league’s players as opposed to the fans, but it’s still an interesting comment. Bettman has a point that the players are representing the league and they assist in selling the overall product, but can’t they have a say in what that product is?

The goal of 3-on-3 OT was to cut down on the emphasis placed on the shootout and so far that has happened. More games are ending in shootouts now compared to the beginning of the year, but that can be chalked up to a feeling-out process by teams around the league who weren’t used to 3-on-3 play.

Still, the majority of games are ending prior to the shootout.

The 3-on-3 OT format is polarizing, but it’s certainly not as divisive as the shootout. The shootout is a gimmick in every sense of the word and barely represents the game of hockey. The 3-on-3 format, though also gimmicky, is a lot closer to hockey than any shootout. Some won’t be happy with anything other than more 5-on-5 play, but it’s unrealistic to have games extend any longer and ties are certainly out of the picture considering the awful backlash those had back when they decided games.

Every decision from the NHL will be criticized. In this case, Bettman has no interest in hearing complaints.

David Rogers

About David Rogers

Managing Editor of the NHL blog Puck Drunk Love and contributing writer for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Firm believer that Ray Hudson is the most entertaining commentator in sports.